One sunny day, I left for Chuncheon to meet Lee Oi-soo. When I arrived at his home, he was taking a nap because he usually works through the night. He is preparing his next novel, the subject of which is the moon. After waiting for three hours I could met Lee. We drank tea and talked about "Oi-soo."
"No, no! I have to say more about my friend of 30 years, tobacco. How can the government raise the price continuously? Can you quit eating rice if the price of rice keeps going up?"
Lee betrayed his strong dissatisfaction about the tobacco policy. In addition to being a great writer, he was as cozy as a grandfather.
Theme 1: Oi-soo & People
He has many various friends. Among them, Lee has two sworn brothers, Kim Bong-jun, a sculptor, and the singer Lee Nam-yi.
Kim Bong-jun had studied sculpting in the mountains and Lee Nam-yi had been the pupil of Jung-kwang who had been describing as a "mad monk." Also, Lee Oi-soo had cultivated his moral sense while formulating his works. So they became friends while seeking a common truth. It's now more than ten years since they became a band of sworn brothers.
Lee was intimate with Chun Sang-byung. He sometimes drops into the cafe Gui-cheon, operated by Chun Sang-byung's wife, together his fans after his Seoul lectures.
He believes that relations among people are the most precious things in life and these relations will never be forgotten.
Theme 2: Oi-soo & Painting
The cover of Hwang-geum Bi-neul (Golden Scale), one of Oi-soo's volume, is painted by Lee himself.
He had a dream of becoming a painter. When he was a university student, he learned Western painting. But then he realized the differences between Western and Oriental painting. In Western painting, the painter's spirit is merely daubed on a canvas; in Oriental painting, however, the spirit can be wholly infiltrated, as in Chinese drawing. After being aware of that, he gave up Western painting and started to do wash-drawing by himself.
Lee paints naturally without thinking. He said a detached mind can create good paintings.
Already he had several exhibitions together with other famous painters as well one-man shows. And soon, he is going to put on the memorial show in honor of Chun Sang-byung.
Theme 3: Oi-soo & Writing
The crotcheteer, the crank... These nicknames comes from Lee's unvarnished appearance and his unique novels. Lee thinks bitterly over events in our society, such as murders in families, selling harmful food and so on. So he said the people who live in this distorted reality are the "true crotcheteers." And he wants to move society in the right way with his works.
In his novel, the characters are Lee Oi-soo himself because he looks for themes in his own life. Further, as a author, Lee always sees things through his four eyes: the external, the interior, the thinking and the mind.
"I'm writing my next volume for my fans. Writing is very tormenting work." But he know that his anguish will be his reader's pleasure. That is why he keeps on writing. We can read his new novel in the coming summer.
Theme 4: Oi-soo & life
Lee is proud that his homepage is considered to be one of the best portal sites by Chosun Ilbo. He connects his homepage (http://www.oisoo.co.kr) each day to take care of it and communicate with his fans. But his wife Jeon Young-ja attends to Lee's fan, too. They first met in a cafeteria and fell in love after struggling for seats. Lee said he didn't love her enough to proposed marriage but he would "only love Young-ja" forever. Now she is his manager and also Lee's constant companion.
Before long, he is going to move to Hwacheon, for its pure air. And there, he will reach the another acme of his life.
"One final question: Why don't you wash your face everyday, sir?" I couldn't help smiling while hearing his answer.
"Why? Do you think outward appearances are important to an author? Authors adorn their inside. But I do washes at least three times in a year. Hah-hah!"
Son Jin-lee firstname.lastname@example.org
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